The Last Exorcism (Blu-ray)
Reverend Cotton Marcus is a man of God, a man of theatrics and a man of money but after years of exploiting God for the latter he decides to come clean by way of a documentary. But simply spilling the beans isn’t enough for the eccentric reverend, so he chooses to respond to one of the many letters he’s received about exorcisms. This time however, the fear and evil are all too real.
One thing we’ve had a lot of over the past decade is exorcism movies and when the trailer for this film came out, a lot of people rolled their eyes and yawned, myself among them. The true irony here is that I was at work one night about a week or more ago and was talking about THE RITE when a co-worker asked if I’d seen this film. I hadn’t and said as much, adding that I heard a lot of people cut up the ending. I then proceeded to tell him that he may as well tell me how it ends because I had no intention of watching it, so he did. The very next day I got it in the mail to review, you gotta love those acts of God. Consequently, I have to tell you that this was probably the most fun I’ve ever had with an exorcism movie, ever.
First and foremost for a film that’s shot “documentary style” (and what genre films aren’t these days, as it’s simply become the latest fad) I barely noticed. Reverend Cotton is a hoot, from his “May the Lord strike me down where I stand” attitude to his practical and likeable persona, I just couldn’t help but root for the guy (and that sermon on banana bread bit was as hilarious as it was priceless). Everything about Reverend Cotton is both refreshing and entertaining which is the complete opposite of what I expected. He’s not the only one to turn heads though as once he hit the Sweetzer farm, everyone there became something out of a true ghost story.
Now two other major factors here are the tone and the setting. The air was always thick with suspense mainly due to Ashley Bell’s fantastic portrayal of the tormented Nell Sweetzer. There’s only so much I can say about Nell without giving anything away and that’s one thing I don’t want to do. There is one scene however where she goes on about “blowing jobs” (you’ll get it when you see it) which was gold in my book; well done and very well written. Yes, the plot would appear to be a “paint by numbers” special and on some levels it is, but sometimes an added razor sharp edge or two can and will make all the difference.
THE LAST EXORCISM does not re-invent the wheel, nor does it write a new page in the evil handbook until we get to the much debated and clearly controversial ending. Now bear in mind that I’m saying this as a guy who actually knew what was going to happen the entire time and even then, was taken aback by how things unfolded. I have respect for where this film went and though many may not agree with me, I liked the ending; it instilled fear and oozed pure evil. And if I can admit that having known the outcome from Jump Street, just imagine how gripping it would be when you don’t see it coming. Take that however you’d like but for me, this flick delivered.
Video: 1.78:1 Widescreen in 1080p HD with AVC codec. There are a good many creepy visuals to feast your eyes upon and that’s all I can tell you.
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD in English, French and Spanish with the same subtitle options. As you’d well imagine, being a Horror flick means there’s more than a few musical jolts to enjoy as well.
Commentary (1: 27:00): Producers Eli Roth, Eric Newman and Tom Bliss lead us through the feature with Roth opening up quite a bit about Horror in general. I dig Roth as a film maker (not so much as an actor) and I hope he keeps his A-game coming. There are also two other commentaries; one with the director and cast and the other told through the eyes of a haunting victim, deliverance minister and psychologist. The truth can be quite scary.
Protection Prayer: This one sheet serves as a prayer you recite to help protect you from Satan. Pray you never need to use it.
Real Stories of Exorcism (14:38): An actual warning comes up explaining that knowing the names of the demons herein can open you up to possession…so I decided to pass. Enjoy!
The Devil You Know: The Making of The Last Exorcism (20:24): Eli Roth explains that their approach to making this film was to ensure that it felt real and not like a film at all and for me, that’s exactly what they delivered and why I felt it was such a good time.
Ashley Bell Audition Footage (2:32): Much like it sounds, the young (and surprising hot when she’s done up) actress recites a few lines from various scenes. We also get a couple minutes of audition footage from Patrick Fabian, Caleb Landry and Louis Herthum.
Previews: There’s a 2009 Cannes Film Festival teaser, a theatrical trailer and a handful of other previews. Also, this Blu-ray package includes a DVD and DIGITAL COPY of the film as well as some BD-LIVE content if you can hook up to the net.